From the desk of Fr Stephen
This past Saturday, my family gathered here at the Rock to celebrate a Memorial Mass for my Uncle Len. It was nice to be able to do this. Uncle Len lived with my family for many years and we wanted to remember him with a special Mass. I have five siblings, three of them live out of town, and so it was nice that they were able to come to St. Louis. My Mom also celebrated her 85th birthday this week and we had a nice dinner and cake for this occasion. I mention these things because it is nice to get together with our families. I am not able to do this with my family that often because not everyone lives in St. Louis, so I appreciate it when it happens. I am sure you feel the same way when you are with your family.
Here at the Rock, we also have a family of sorts. Like my own family, it is nice when we can get together. We should not take these times together for granted. Whenever we gather as a parish, we should be aware of what brings us together as a family. Certainly, it is nice when we get together as brothers and sisters, but as Christians, it is much more than seeing another person. We come together as a family united in faith and love. A specific tone is set when we gather in the name of the Lord. Hopefully, it pervades our whole day, our whole attitude about life.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven. In times past, this would have been exactly 40 days after the Resurrection, which was this past Thursday. In today’s church, we celebrate the feast on the following Sunday. Next week we will celebrate Pentecost, the end of the Easter season.
But, back to the Ascension. When Jesus rose from the dead, He spent the next 40 days or so with his followers. They were his closest friends. In a way, you could say they were his extended family. They were the early Christian church united in Christ. They set a precedent for how we, who live 2000 years later, must try to live our lives. In this Gospel today, Jesus tells his followers to go out into the world and share the Good News. What is this Good News? It is the abundant life of the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus encourages his disciples to go forth, he says the same thing to us. We, my friends, are called to be witnesses. We are called to be evangelizers in our own way. On this feast day, it is a good gut check for us. Are we living our lives in such a way that people around us recognize we are Christians? As Jesus leaves this earth, he wants his followers to continue to spread the word to the four corners of the earth. In doing this, he says everyone is to be included. No one has an exclusive market on Jesus. Through our lives, others will come to know the Good News. We need your help. Jesus needs your help to do this.
Have a great week!